Witnessing on-campus political debate gives UMSL students immeasurable experience
University of Missouri–St. Louis political science major Francesca Loseille is not a St. Louis County resident, but the opportunity to see a political debate on her college campus was reason enough to give up her free hour.
Loseille was among the 200 people who attended the St. Louis County executive debate Tuesday at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. The event, sponsored by St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU, featured two UMSL alumni squaring off: Steve Stenger, BSBA 1993, and Rick Stream, BSBA 1971.
St. Louis County executive hopefuls Stream, a Republication, and Stenger, a Democrat, battled over the handling of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., the potential for a St. Louis city and county merger, police training and more diversity throughout departments, economic development and job creation.
Dave Robertson, Curators’ Teaching Professor of Political Science at UMSL, said the experience of witnessing a political debate, for all students, is immeasurable.
“This on-campus debate for the leadership of Missouri’s largest county provides an incomparable experience for students who can better understand the different standpoints and aspirations that are driving our civic processes,” Robertson said. “At no time in my memory has St. Louis County had a more urgent need for this kind of civic discussion.”
“I felt (Steve) Stenger did a great job,” said Loseille, the political science student. “He addressed the issues, stated his position and discussed his plans. I’m working on a policy paper for one of my classes, and this debate gave me a lot to think about and use for my assignment.”
Cullen Williams, a communication major, attended the debate because he wanted to support Stream.
“I think all Stenger did was attack and that’s just a distraction tactic when you’re down in the polls,” Williams said. “Stream stayed on point.”
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